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Ebola outbreak: what you need to know
The Ebola virus. Image: Frederick Murphy, CDC, PA Wire
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The UK is facing an "acute health emergency" following the [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] in West Africa.
Over 670 people have died since the outbreak began in February, according to the World Health Organisation.
So far there have been no reported cases in the UK.
A man was tested for Ebola earlier this week in Birmingham, but was found to have no sign of the virus.
Here's a guide to Ebola and all the latest developments on this story:
Why is the Ebola virus so serious?
The disease can have a fatality rate of up to 90%, and there is no treatment or vaccine. It is one of the world's most virulent diseases.
How is it transmitted?
Infection comes from direct contact with the blood, body fluids and tissues of infected animals or people.
Those most at risk of infection are health workers, family members and others in close contact with the sick and dead patients.
Outbreaks mainly occur in remote villages in central and west Africa.
Infection has been documented through the handling of infected chimpanzees, gorillas, fruit bats, monkeys, forest antelope and porcupines found ill or dead or in rainforests.
What are its origins?
The disease was first recorded in two simultaneous outbreaks in 1976 in Nzara, Sudan, and Yambuku, a village in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) situated near the Ebola River.
Fruit bats of the Pteropodidae family are believed to be the natural host of the virus.
World Health Organisation data shows the worst outbreaks previously recorded were in the DRC in 1976, when 280 of 318 cases resulted in death, as well as another in the same country in 1995 when 254 of 315 patients died, and in Uganda in 2000, when there were 425 cases, 224 of which were fatal.
What are the symptoms?
Fever, intense weakness, muscle pain, headache and a sore throat. This is followed by vomiting, diarrhoea, rash, impaired kidney and liver function, and in some cases, both internal and external bleeding.
It can take up to 21 days for symptoms to show after being infected.
How big is the latest outbreak?
It's the largest in history. It has centred on Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea, but there has been particular concern after the densely populated country of Nigeria reported what is thought to be its first death from the disease on 25 July.
American Patrick Sawyer, 40, developed symptoms on board a flight from Liberia to Nigeria. Mr Sawyer, who was of Liberian descent, had been on his way home to the US. His sister has also died of the disease. Mr Sawyer is said to have made multiple flights from Liberia to Nigeria.
Dr Sheik Humarr Khan, who had been hailed as a national hero for his work treating patients with Ebola in Sierra Leone, died on 29 July after being quarantined in hospital in the country.
Is the outbreak under control?
No. Dr Brian McCloskey, director of global health at Public Health England (PHE), said the outbreak was "clearly not yet under control", describing it as the most "acute health emergency" facing Britain.
What steps are being taken to protect the UK?
Dr McCloskey told the Independent: "We have been talking to all levels of government, including the prime minister's office, on the West Africa situation.
"When these things start to escalate we work with everybody to ensure they are aware of what needs to happen."
Have any cases of imported Ebola ever been reported in the UK?
No. The risk of a traveller going to West Africa and contracting Ebola remains very low.
The department of health has confirmed a man was tested this week in Birmingham for Ebola, but was not found to have the disease.
Reports suggest the man had travelled from Benin in Nigeria via Paris to the Midlands.
Another man has attended Charing Cross hospital in west London over fears he had the disease, but was assessed but doctors who ruled out the need for an Ebola test.
What action is the government taking?
Defence secretary Philip Hammond will be chairing a Cobra meeting today. He told Sky News that he would wants to "assess the situation and look at any measures that we need to take either in the UK, or in our diplomatic posts abroad in order to manage the threat."
What are the chances of it spreading to the UK?
Sir Mark Walport, the Government's chief scientific adviser, said the disease was "potentially a major threat" to Britain because the increasingly "interconnected" nature of the world meant disruptions in far-off countries can have a major impact.
He told the Daily Telegraph: "The most dangerous infections of humans have always been those which have emerged from other species. They are a potential major threat to us. Emerging infectious disease is a global grand challenge.
"We were lucky with Sars. But we have to do the best horizon scanning. We have to think about risk and managing risk appropriately."